Monday, July 01, 2019

Leave you behind

Janet Weiss is one of my absolute favourite drummers, so it feels rather uncomfortable to question her normally impeccable timing.

To be clear, I can understand the rationale behind her decision to leave Sleater-Kinney, albeit "after intense deliberation and with heavy sadness", following 23 years on the drum stool. 'Hurry On Home', the first taster of forthcoming album The Center Won't Hold, is a solid song but undeniably wears St Vincent's involvement prominently on its sleeve and as such lends considerable credence to Weiss' comment that "the band is heading in a new direction". A classic case of musical differences, it seems. That change might prove to be no bad thing - but Weiss is of course perfectly entitled to feel "it is time for me to move on".

And yet the precise timing of the announcement seems strange. 'Hurry On Home' has already been unveiled, The Center Won't Hold is due to follow shortly, Weiss has featured in the publicity shots and a tour has been booked. In the circumstances, her statement implicitly casts doubt on the direction in which Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker want to take (and indeed have taken) the band. In their response, the pair say that they're "saddened" by Weiss's departure, but also sound somewhat defensive in stressing that they're "so excited for everyone to hear the record".

If the break had to happen, then it's a real shame it didn't happen earlier, when it would have been cleaner and less awkward for all concerned. And while I'm not about to join the chorus of morons angrily blaming St Vincent, it's hard not to feel that Sleater-Kinney without Weiss are a diminished force.

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